Physicalism has, over the past twenty years, become almost an orthodoxy, especially in the philosophy of mind. Many philosophers, however, feel uneasy about this development, and this volume is intended as a collective response to it. Together these papers, written by philosophers from Britain, the United States, and Australasia, show that physicalism faces enormous problems in every area in which it is discussed. The contributors not only investigate the well-known difficulties that physicalism has in accommodating sensory consciousness, but also bring (...) out its inadequacies in dealing with thought, intentionality, abstract objects, , and principles of both theoretical and practical reason; even its ability to cope with the physical world itself is called into question. Both strong "reductionist" versions and weaker "supervenience" theories are discussed and found to face different but equally formidable obstacles. Contributors include George Bealer, Peter Forrest, John Foster, Grant Gillett, Bob Hale, Michael Lockwood, George Myro, Nicholas Nathan, David Smith, Steven Wagner, Ralph Walker, and Richard Warner. (shrink)
The Vatican’s position on in vitro fertilization (IVG), found in the ’Instruction on Bioethics’ (1987), is that all IVF is immoral, for it violates the normative procreative act of married spouses. The dilemma created is, if all instances of IVF are immoral, then God’s act in the Incarnation (granting the traditional doctrine) must also have been immoral. Conversely, if God’s act in the Incarnation was not immoral, then at least some cases of human IVF are not immoral either. A resolution (...) is offered. Two diagrams are employed. (shrink)
The 1964 theorem of John Bell shows that no model that reproduces the predictions of quantum mechanics can simultaneously satisfy the assumptions of locality and determinism. On the other hand, the assumptions of signal locality plus predictability are also sufficient to derive Bell inequalities. This simple theorem, previously noted but published only relatively recently by Masanes, Acin and Gisin, has fundamental implications not entirely appreciated. Firstly, nothing can be concluded about the ontological assumptions of locality or determinism independently of each (...) other—it is possible to reproduce quantum mechanics with deterministic models that violate locality as well as indeterministic models that satisfy locality. On the other hand, the operational assumption of signal locality is an empirically testable (and well-tested) consequence of relativity. Thus Bell inequality violations imply that we can trust that some events are fundamentally unpredictable, even if we cannot trust that they are indeterministic. This result grounds the quantum-mechanical prohibition of arbitrarily accurate predictions on the assumption of no superluminal signalling, regardless of any postulates of quantum mechanics. It also sheds a new light on an early stage of the historical debate between Einstein and Bohr. (shrink)
Berkeley confidently asserts the connection between his attack on abstract ideas and immaterialism, But how the connection works has puzzled modern commentators. I construct an argument resting on the imagist theory of thought which connects anti-ionism and immaterialism and try to show that it is berkeleian. I then suggest that, Without the mistaken imagist theory, A similar and still interesting argument can be constructed to the weaker conclusion that matter is essentially unknowable.
I claim that there are four major strands of argument for externalism and set out to discuss three of them. The four are: (A) That referential thoughts are object-dependent. This I do not discuss. (B) That the semantics of natural kind terms is externalist. (C) That all semantic content, even of descriptive terms, stems from the causal relations of representations to the things or properties they designate in the external world. (D) That, because meaning is a social product and no (...) individual can capture the whole social practice that defines a concept, what the speaker means always outruns what he can know.I briefiy discuss (C) and (D) and conclude that they cannot be correct, because, if they were, the content of every thought would permanently transcend the refiective grasp of all thinkers. Then I discuss (B) and conclude that, though Putnam shows something interesting about natural kind terms -- namely that a real verbal definition requires science -- this has none of the consequences for philosophy of mind that it is normally supposed to have. (shrink)
Successful interactions between people are dependent on rapid recognition of social cues. We investigated whether head direction – a powerful social signal – is processed in the absence of conscious awareness. We used continuous flash interocular suppression to render stimuli invisible and compared the reaction time for face detection when faces were turned towards the viewer and turned slightly away. We found that faces turned towards the viewer break through suppression faster than faces that are turned away, regardless of eye (...) direction. Our results suggest that detection of a face with attention directed at the viewer occurs even in the absence of awareness of that face. While previous work has demonstrated that stimuli that signal threat are processed without awareness, our data suggest that the social relevance of a face, defined more broadly, is evaluated in the absence of awareness. (shrink)